People sometimes assume that everything will just fall into place naturally if you pass away without any estate planning documents, especially if you are married. In fact, this is a misguided assumption. Many negative consequences can come about if you do not take the time to construct a personalized estate plan that ideally suits your needs.
The Condition of Intestacy
If you were to die without an estate plan, the condition of intestacy would be the result. This would be true if you are single, or if you are married. Under these circumstances, the probate court would step in to sort things out under the intestate succession laws of the state of California.
A personal representative would be appointed to handle the estate administration tasks. Final debts would be paid out of the assets that comprise the estate, and ultimately, the probate property would be distributed under the intestate succession laws.
Exactly how your property would be distributed if you die intestate when you are single would depend upon the familial relationships that were in place at the time of your passing.
Your children would inherit everything if you were to pass away as a single parent, and your parents would inherit everything if you died single without any children. If you were to pass away as a single person without any living parents or children, and you have siblings, your siblings would inherit your probate property.
There are laws that would apply to different familial relationships if you were to pass away without any living children, parents, or siblings.
Sometimes, a person will pass away intestate with no living relatives at all. Under these circumstances, the state could ultimately absorb the probate property under escheat laws if no relatives are found.
Action Is Required
There is no reason to go through life without an estate plan. Every responsible adult should have a plan in place, and this includes single people who are relatively young adults. You have to make sure that your assets are transferred to inheritors of your own choosing, and you should also prepare for possible incapacity when you devise your estate plan.
If you are frozen with inaction because you do not know where to begin, this is somewhat understandable, but you can take the first step right now. Our firm offers free consultations, and we would be glad to sit down with you, gain an understanding of your situation and your objectives, and help you create a personalized estate plan that ideally suits your needs.
To Schedule a Free Consultation
If you are interested in the possibility of working with our firm after learning these facts, please select our “Workshops” tab to RSVP for a free estate planning workshop. At that workshop you will be offered a free one-hour consultation with an attorney: www.collinslawgroup.com/seminars/